Great Australian Road Trips
 
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SOUTH AUSTRALIA
 

Flinders Ranges: The weathered crags of the Flinders Ranges in central South Australia is an ancient landscape, full of almost primeval colours: rich purples and deep blues, cut through with red rock gorges.  Main roads are accessible to conventional sedans, but most side tracks are 4WD only.  Highlights include the Wadlata Outback Centre in Port Augusta, Pichi Richi steam railway at Quorn, Brachina and Mount Chambers gorges with their galleries of Aboriginal rock art, Wilpena Pound (best seen on a scenic flight) and Arkaroola’s stunning ridge-top tour.

How long? around 650 km
More: flinders-ranges-outback.aspx

Coffin Bay

Eyre Peninsula: One of the best kept beach secrets in the country is the Eyre Peninsula, the triangle of land jutting into the sea between Adelaide and the Great Australian Bight. If you like empty beaches, this is the place to go. On this drive from Whyalla to Ceduna via Port Lincoln you’ll find beach after beach, visited only by the occasional fisherman and screeching seagulls.  Highlights are oysters and fresh seafood, the stunning five kilometre cliff drive at Elliston, fishing from town jetties, four-wheel driving in Lincoln and Coffin Bay national parks and swimming with sea lions at Baird Bay.

How long? 580 km
More:
eyre-peninsula.aspx

 

Watch the video: The Eyre Peninsula's wild side

Grape drive: Explore three of the country’s best wine regions, all within a day’s drive of Adelaide, and all within an hour or two’s drive from each other.  Start in the Adelaide Hills, one of South Australia’s oldest wine producing areas, then wind your way north to Tanunda and Angaston and loop around the Barossa Valley to try some of its world-famous shiraz, before moving on to the Clare Valley, home of some of the best rieslings in the country. 

How long? 250 km
More: www.southaustralia.com

The Dog Fence

Oodnadatta Track: This track traverses some of South Australia’s most remote outback, following in the footsteps of explorer John McDouall Stuart, who crossed the continent from Adelaide to Darwin in 1862. The Overland Telegraph Line was built along his route just 10 years later, which was followed by the now abandoned first Ghan railway line, opened in 1929.  Explore old train carriages in Marree, have a beer at William Creek (population 7), visit the white salt vastness of Lake Eyre, bubbling mound springs, old Telegraph Station and homestead ruins and the outpost of Oodnadatta.

How long? around 620 km
More: www.southaustralia.com

Head of Bight

Across the Nullarbor: The trip across the Nullarbor is an iconic journey through the Australian outback. The longest, straightest, flattest piece of road in Australia stretches from just east of the historic gold mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to the fishing port of Ceduna on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Highlights include semi-arid desertscape, the flat Nullarbor Plain where you feel as if you can see forever, towering cliffs along the Great Australian Bight, Eucla Telegraph Station ruins, whale watching at Head of Bight and seafood in Ceduna.

How long? around 2500 km
More: www.nullarbornet.com.au

 

Watch the video: Crossing the Nullarbor

Birdsville Hotel

Birdsville Track: First established during the 1880s as a stock route between Marree in South Australia and Birdsville in Queensland, the Birdsville Track has become one of Australia’s most legendary outback tracks. Back then, it would take about a month to complete; nowadays, the track is passable to conventional vehicles for most of the year. Highlights include white salt lakes, homestead ruins, crossing the dog fence and visiting the gushing hot water bores beside the track, the Natterannie sand hills where the Tirari and Strzelecki deserts meet, and of course, the famous Birdsville Hotel.

How long? around 520 km
More: www.exploroz.com

Simpson desert dunes. Phot courtesy Bill McKinnon

The Simpson Crossing: One of the last frontiers of the outback.  It was the last of the Australian deserts to be explored by Europeans, the first to cross its expanse of red dunes was Ted Colson, on camel, in 1936; the first vehicle in 1962.  Now, it’s top of the list for serious four-wheel drivers, and while thousands of people cross the Simpson each year, it is still not a trip to be taken lightly.  You’ll need to be self sufficient, carry good maps, make sure your vehicle is in tip-top condition, carry enough water for several days and basic spares.  Crossing east to west is the easiest way, from Birdsville to Dalhousie hot springs, and allow three days.

How long? around 645 km
More: www.mynrma.com.au

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